January 6, 2014

In Which Rina's Existence Is Summed

April 11, 1184

"Uh..." Severin cast a quick glance around the room before his eyes settled back on Rina. He had knocked, and she had said he could come in, but she didn't blame him. Actually, given everything, his hesitation came as somewhat of a relief. "Is it all right, my being here?"

"It's fine." She didn't want company, exactly. She loved her grandmother--and she certainly hadn't expected her to be so firmly on her side!--but there was only so much protectiveness she could take without being reminded of exactly why she needed protecting. She had nothing against her aunt and uncle, but they too summoned unwelcome thoughts at the sight of them, their stark contrast to her vicious father and her too-meek mother making her parents seem all the worse. And then she felt guilty for thinking too badly of her mother; her father must have broken her long ago.

And of course, if the children were to visit...

But Severin seemed all right. He snarked through lessons--the ones he was there for--and quarreled with Lady Xeta and rolled his eyes when the classmates found their coursework difficult. Except when she did, or so her cousin had pointed out. He'd also been so kind to her those couple days back.

He had a good heart, but he didn't like rules. If she needed a friend--and she supposed she did--it would be better if he didn't like rules. If he had, he'd leave her if he ever learned she'd broken them. Leave, and maybe do worse.

"I brought your coursework for you. It's in your uncle's study. Your aunt said that someone could bring it to you if you're not feeling up to walking there, and Lady Camaline said you're excused from school until your, uh... your monthly is over."

He grimaced, blushing somewhat. A more mature reaction than most boys their age had to the workings of the female body, she'd admit. "Thank you."

"No trouble." He pointed both fingers to her in some nervous twitch. Was she a terrible person, finding some comfort in his anxiety? It had been too long since she'd seen that in anyone but herself. "It's all there, you know. A whole week's worth."

"So I'll miss the actual lessons." Not that she thought she cared. Maybe it would be better, learning on her own for a while, no eyes on her every time she was called for an answer she didn't know, no distractions from the facts in front of her. Maybe if she could focus on the coursework itself, she could forget about everything else for a while.

"A lucky thing. No more idiots asking five times for Lady Xeta to explain the same algebra problem." He coughed out a small laugh as he wound to the side of her bed. Rina swallowed. She might have done the same, if she'd cared enough. "I hope you catch up soon. Then we can commiserate. I'm used to being alone, but loneliness is more obvious when there are others around, others who don't get it."

Rina tilted her head. Off-guard, Severin blinked. "Sorry. That probably sounded stupid."

"No." She wondered if he'd ever know that he'd managed to sum up her entire existence. "Not stupid at all."



Van said...

Sorry for not posting this yesterday. I was sick (still am), and had a few things to do.

Ann said...

D'awwwwwws! I hereby declare the Sevrina ship launched! *presents bottle of champagne to Van*
Come aboard, come aboard, y'all! ^^

That being said, how do you manage to go so deep with such simple words and without ceremony? Most writers I know need to build up steam, if you will, before coming to any profound points, so one can see it coming from a mile away. You don't, I like that.
And you don't spell everything out for us either. You lead us there and then let us draw our own conclusions, instead of delivering everything on a silver platter. I really like that about your writing!

Great work, as always!

Van said...

Sevrina would not be without complications, but it could also be very sweet.

Uh... thanks? I never really considered that, and I'm not sure I see it. That said, I know how well-read you are, so I'm very flattered. :)

Ekho said...

Sev is so good about all of this, from the beginning the way that he handled the knowledge of her 'monthly' was very mature and he respected her no less, where even boys/men in these times would give some kind of unfriendly reaction.
It's sweet that he was thinking of her while she was away, and that he made the effort to bring her her work.. Though I like to think he possibly used it as an excuse to see her :3
Has he decided that he does like her? I know he was getting that feeling when they first spoke, so maybe it has developed into something real now? I hope so.
I feel so bad for Rina, knowing how hard it must be. Poor girl, she's been hurt so much she's gone numb. I hope Sev doesn't take that negatively, or maybe she can muster a smile one day for his sake.

Van said...

Severin has enough women in his life to know that hey, some of them have periods, and not to make a big deal of it (unless of course she's in pain). He's a grouch, but he's a logical one, and he's not about to fault someone for an involuntarily bodily function.

It could very well be that he wanted an excuse to see her! ;) But I think he also wants her to get caught up, possibly so they can skip unnecessary lessons together.

I think he does like her. If he hasn't run away now, then he's certainly on track. But hopefully he can restrain himself from being forceful. What Rina really needs is time, but she needs a friend far more than she wants a boyfriend right now.

Winter said...

I hope you're feeling better!

Severin may be the first recorded case of the kid who acts up because he's too smart for his classes. Rina appears to be ahead of the curve, too, but not so caustic. And his determination that everyone in class except for Rina is too stupid to be tolerated is adorable. I hope Rina will too, when she's ready.

Van said...

Slowly but surely. Soup helps.

He won't be the last, but he could be the first! Rina is also quite clever, though her situation is holding her back presently. But while Severin may live in fear that he might one day have a crush on someone stupid, I don't think that will ever actually happen. If Severin likes someone, it's because he sees potential.

Penelope said...

You know... I'm actually puzzled a little bit about Severin. I of course understand a girl who has been used to blows liking someone who is kind to her. I am not sure that I understand why Severin has taken an interest. Because he thinks she's pretty? And because she isn't from around there? (From what I recall of being a kid, there is a certain fascination with people who are not from where you're from.) Maybe her personality reminds him of his mother.

Van said...

Good question! Since Severin seems to think so poorly of the rest of his peer group, I wouldn't be surprised if the novelty of Rina had something to do with it--someone who hasn't had the time to prove herself as just another sheep.

She's also a bit of a social pariah so far and doesn't seem to care about that, which Severin would also dig.